It was time to drive up to Lake Placid New York.
(This was like your, what, 400th time doing the race at this location?)
Fifth, thank you.
(So, why go back?)
I had athletes competing here, so I wanted to be there for them.
(So, you could have just come up to stand on the sidelines.)
My loving wife Janet asked me when I was going to stop doing these huge races. “When I no longer can complete them in time.”
(So, you wanted to see if you could complete two of these 140.6-mile races in 21 days?)
That was the idea. It was time to see if I had bitten off too much.
(What time did you leave home?)
We NEVER leave on time … and that’s my fault.
If I tell my wife Janet, “We are leaving at 1 p.m.” Janet will be sitting, packed and ready at 12:50 p.m.
There are always last-minute things I forget to pack or prep. This year it was the bike.
(You packed your bike?)
I wasn’t going to ride the 275 miles there.
(I dunno, it sounds like something you would do.)
Problem #1: The car has a hitch on the back and the bike rack “plugs in.”
(And the bike rack wasn’t going into the hitch?)
No, just the opposite. It was going in too well. The last thing I needed was to have my bike fall off the back of my car as I was driving up the Major Deagan.
Lesson one of triathlon, “Nothing new on race day.” I should not have waited until the afternoon we were leaving to test this new piece of equipment.
Problem #2: Packing the car. Three years ago, I traded my Nissan Rogue for a Nissan Murano so that we would have more cubic storage space for trips like this one. Packing to me is like playing life-size Tetris. Whether it is a sock drawer, a refrigerator or a bookcase, I can make stuff fit. You give me a geometric shape and I became a Jenga master. The men who built Shi-Huangdi’s Great Wall got nothing on me. One large suitcase for the family, two carry-on-size bags for me. A cooler on wheels for our cooked food, four shopping bags of dry goods and our crockpot. I stood back after I fit everything in, arms folded across my chest, feeling pretty good about myself. That’s when Janet exclaimed, “You forgot something.” I looked up at the sky, as I recounted my list like there was an actual thought bubble above my head.
“The kids! Where are the kids going to sit???”
We moved a few things around and 10-year-old Stevie became the smallest thing in the back seat. The poor child looked like someone in a hoarding cable reality show.
(Don’t you have a second child?)
Yes, Eric, our 17-year-old. We drove up to his summer job at Moshava Ba’ir and out came Eric, with a backpack full of stuff.
(So, you had less than enough space for a fourth passenger and your kid showed up with more stuff to pack?)
Pretty much. The meeting went something like this:
Me: “Hi … get in.
Eric: “Cool.” Opens door. “Hey dad?”
Me: “Right … hang on.”
I got out and removed the bags that were on his seat. Had him sit in the seat...
(With his backpack?)
With his backpack and them I placed the bags where I could.
One, maybe two.
(Did he complain about it?)
Nope. He had A/C and a place to plug in his cell phone. He was good to go.
(How long did the drive take?)
5 hours and 25 minutes.
(What did you do for all that time?)
Janet and I sang along to the hair metal station on satellite radio.
(The “hair” what?)
Def Leppard, Guns N’ Roses, Poison, Bon Jovi...
(Oh … oldies.)
No, hair metal. Oldies is what my 90-year-old father listens to.
(But why is it called “hair metal?”)
In the spirit of anything worth doing, is worth doing bigger … and bigger, the hairspray made the hair bigger. Record executives seeing money turned the songs into a clich? of themselves, but I am getting ahead of myself. At the end of the 1970s, three bands combined loud guitar solos, harmonies and sing-along lyrics: Van Halen, Def Leppard and the Scorpions.
(They were the only ones?)
No, there were others, but these are the three that most benefited when MTV, Music Television first aired in August of 1981. You could watch music on your television.
(Why didn’t you watch it on your cell phone?)
The cell phone, as you know it, didn’t exist yet.
(What do you mean by “as you know it”?)
The first mobile telephone was created in 1973 by Motorola and the Motorola StarTAC flip phone appeared in 1996, but the first cell phone that could access the Internet was the Nokia 9210, which was released in June of 2001. My point was that in the 1980s, the loud, guitar-based rock music coming out of Los Angeles was dubbed “hair metal.” In the beginning, bands like Motley Crue, Quiet Riot, Dokken and Bon Jovi...
(From New Jersey.)
From New Jersey, wore tight, spandex pants, puffed up their hair with Aqua Net hair spray and lip-synched to videos on MTV. Now, 40 years later, we were singing along while our kids sat in the back seat, with their devices in their hands, watching videos that might just have been making fun of those very songs.
David Roher is a USAT certified triathlon and marathon coach. He is a multi-Ironman finisher and veteran special education teacher. He is on Instagram @David Roher140.6.
He can be reached at [email protected]